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With this issue, Mr. Bunsen and Ms. Fielding hope to highlight the men and women who are standing out as entrepreneurs in industries around the world. Volume 11 features a selection of international entrepreneurs who are changing the landscape of their industries.
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THE HISTORY OF “THE FOURHUNDRED”
The Four Hundred evokes the drama of American Society at the height of the Gilded Age, when New York’s society was shaken by the arrival of ever increasing numbers of new rich, mining bonanza kings, railroad barons and industrialists, who ascended to unimaginable wealth, during the economic transformation triggered by the industrial revolution.
Caroline Astor was the self crowned queen of New York (and Newport) Society, who set herself the task, to regulate society and keep the new rich of the Gilded Age out. In the winter season of 1872-73 to build up her list of socially prominent New Yorkers, therefore designating twenty five patriarchs, who would define society, by inviting to each ball of the season, four ladies and five gentlemen.In addition to the thereby convened 250 people, an undefined number of visiting guests, prominent people from other cities, and debutantes would be invited directly by Mrs Astor. Allegedly derived from the capacity of Mrs Astor’s ballroom, the “Four Hundred” represented the epitome of New York Society during the last quarter of the 19th century.
The Patriarch Balls held at Mrs Astor’s mansions would go on until 1897. Of the last of these balls, held in the winter season 1891-92, Ward McAllister gave a list to the New York Times. For the first time after many years of guessing, the public was shown the official list of Mrs Astor’s Four Hundred and thereby the names of society’s sacred inner circle.